A very rare antique gas engine gets the restoration it deserves
Will Batty's 1919 3/4 Globe Gas Engine.
1919 3/4 HP Globe
Manufacturer: American Steel Products Company, Macomb, Ill.
Flywheel dia.: 10 inches
Flywheel width: 1-3/8 inches
My interest in gas engines started in late 2001. I had tagged along with my dad, Terry, to a few different auctions, mostly to see what the old tractors were selling for.
My dad owned a few older John Deere tractors as well as four or five stationary engines, which included a couple of John Deere and IHC LB engines.
Upon my dad’s retirement, he decided to sell his tractors because he was living in town and had no place to store them. Instead of tractors, he started to tinker around with the gas engines. Our focus at sales changed from tractors to gas engines, and dad picked up a few more IHC LA/LB engines locally from different farmers in the Rosetown, Saskatchewan area.
Bit by the bug
In 2003, there was a huge estate sale in Eston, Saskatchewan, for the late Fred Schneider, and it was at this sale that I purchased my first engine, a 1929 3 HP Fairbanks-Morse Type Z Model C. Little did I know what this engine would do to my dad and me. The old iron bug really took off with us and we acquired numerous engines over the next several years.
The collection grows
In 2006, my personal engine collection was around a dozen or so engines with my dad having even more. Up to that point, I had been storing my engines in a shed at my dad’s place in Rosetown and I was working/living in a small town called Hoosier, Saskatchewan. In August 2006, I accepted a transfer to move to Whitewood, Saskatchewan. Now I had my own garage and could take possession of my engines, and free up room for my dad to collect more himself, much to the dismay of my mom.
My job in Whitewood was as the general manager of the local cooperative, and as such I worked with a seven-member board of directors. It was one of those on the board that led to the acquisition of the Globe engine.
After a meeting one night in April 2007, I was talking with the board and the topic of engines came up. One director told me of a small engine he had that was going to be put in a consignment auction in Whitewood in May. He had no idea who made the engine, but thought it was maybe IHC. He told me he located the engine up in northern Saskatchewan many years ago. While working with a Cat dozer, a gentleman came and wanted him to do a some push work by his old cabin, which he did. When they discussed payment the director said, “Why don’t you give me that little engine there by the cabin?” This is how the engine ended down by Whitewood, and I was lucky enough to be the winning bidder at that small consignment auction in May.
Globe specifics I had no idea who made the engine and noticed it had a very unique fuel mixer that looked to be driven by a missing belt. The engine also had an old repair on the water jacket as well as a chain-driven camshaft with a broken hub for mounting the cam gear.
The engine was very small in size with the flywheels measuring under 10 inches in diameter. I took some pictures and went to SmokStak.com to ask for some help in identifying this unknown engine. I was amazed how quickly some responses started to come back, and learned quickly this engine was a 3/4 HP Globe built in Macomb, Ill., and that they were rather uncommon. I also found out there was an article written in the July 1973 issue of Gas Engine Magazine. Having the GEM archive CDs, I read this article and found out the engine was built in 1919, with only a few hundred of them being made and sold.
The GEM article by V.R. Douglas said there were problems with them and most were returned very quickly and melted down. Douglas also stated that he only knew of three in existence at that time.
Through discussion online I was told that due to the problems with these engines some were dumped into Canada and sold through the Macleod’s hardware chain. There does seem to be a few more of these engines that have turned up in Canada so I assume that there is truth in both stories. Still, these Globe engines are few and far between.
The restoration of the engine started in the winter of 2007 and I thought it would be my winter project that year. Well, I did not make that deadline. The parts were all cleaned up, a skid was built and the base for the engine was painted.
A reproduction crankguard was found on eBay, purchased, cleaned and mounted. The rest of the restoration, however, took place over the next two years and included another move to my present location of Spiritwood, Saskatchewan.
A little help
In the spring of 2009, I decided someone else should look at the camshaft hub and mounting blocks for the camshaft, as a previous owner had made a crude looking replacement. I decided to take the parts to Wayne Isley of Rosetown. Wayne runs a one-man machine shop and is known far and wide for the excellent work that he does. People travel quite some distance to bring him work. I am very fortunate to be very good friends with Wayne and his wife, Marlene, and knew that he would treat me very well. I also knew that the parts he would make for me would be of the highest quality, and I was not disappointed.
Cylinder and water jacket
Meanwhile, work started on the cylinder and water jacket, which had been repaired sometime in the past but was a very rough looking repair. I decided to grind and file down the weld repair and smooth it out. You can barely tell that there was ever a freeze repair done to the engine. The cylinder got a good honing, new rings were ordered for the piston and the new machined parts were installed. Also, the flywheels were put on the engine and I worked on figuring out the timing. The Globe was finally starting to look like an engine again.
The next piece I worked on was the unique brass fuel mixer.The fuel mixer is very different in that it has a flyball-style governor that is driven by a round leather belt from the flywheel. When the engine speeds up the weights move out and force a needle down to restrict the fuel coming in. It was a very poor design and was probably the downfall of these engines.
The fuel mixer I have was damaged and had a crude soldering job at the bottom of the mixer. I cleaned off all the old solder, gave the mixer a good cleaning, soldered the bottom back on the mixer, polished it and mounted it back on the engine. A leather belt was also made and installed.
At this point, other than making shims for the bearings, the engine was back together and I had to figure out what I was going to do for the cooling tank.
I wanted to fashion a tank that was similar to what the original would have been and decided to e-mail John Davidson in Bristol, Wis., who has an excellent looking original Globe engine, to obtain the tank measurements I needed.
I located an old piece of round galvanized duct work and decided that this would work for the cooling tank. I cut the duct to the length that John supplied me, and soldered a bottom on the tank. I then decided how I wanted the cooling lines to run and soldered two brass pipes into the side of the cooling tower and a drain in the bottom of the tower. I then fabricated a fuel tank out of some heavy flashing I purchased at an auction. I used the dimensions supplied by John and once the tank was built I soldered it on the side of the cooling tower. Due to the different materials used for the fuel tank and cooling tank I had to paint the complete unit to make it one color. I made the Globe decals on clear water transfer paper with my computer.
In May 2010, I filled the grease cups, oiled the engine, put an oiler on, hooked up a buzz coil, put some gas in and discovered I had a pretty good fuel drip coming from the fuel mixer needle valve. So I drained the gas and decided to try a little starting fluid and it took off right away.
The next night I redid the packing for the needle valve, put in some gas, and soon learned how easy it was to flood this engine. Now that I’ve come up with a starting procedure and found the proper settings the engine starts easily.
I have not seen or heard another one of these engines run so I cannot compare it to anything at this time, but I do have a video on YouTube of this engine running.
The engine was a very rewarding project that I completed three years after I purchased it. So much for a winter project!